South Lubbock paralyzed by Wednesday afternoon gas leak - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

South Lubbock paralyzed by Wednesday afternoon gas leak

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

As bitter cold winter weather lingers on the South Plains, many residents are struggling to deal with utility disruptions and frozen pipes.

Nearly a hundred south Lubbock residents were without heat for several hours because of a damaged gas line on Wednesday.

The affected area starts from 114th Street and University Avenue and extends to private road 7350.

Atmos Energy Representative Marinda Heinrich says it's unclear how far east or west the area extends, but it affects about 80 customers.

Bundled from head to toe, Atmos Energy crews worked to restore service through Wednesday afternoon.

Those customers found themselves without heat about 4 p.m. after crew members say a gas line was damaged by a third-party contractor.

Those customers were bundled head to toe indoors trying to stay warm despite the frigid weather.

"The only thing that's warm is our feet because we're right here by the (portable) heater. But...it's really cold in here," said Tammy De La Cruz.

De La Cruz is a manager at Tech Cafe. The service disruption didn't just bring in the cold, the business was also taking a hit.

Customers had to be turned away because no gas means no burgers.

Heinrich released a statement just after 5:30 p.m. saying, "Do not turn on or off any light switches or even operate a cell phone until the area is deemed safe. If you smell natural gas, leave the area immediately and call 911 from a safe distance."

She said, "It's not dangerous to inhale. Natural gas dissipates into the atmosphere - so for this particular instance, where the cut line was, all the natural gas was just dissipating into the air,"

Heinrich says the line was repaired around 7 p.m. Technicians will be going door to door to all homes and businesses affected to get services turned back on.

She says they're hoping to restore service to all of their customers by 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. at the latest.

She also says there will also be an investigation into whether the third party had permission to dig there.

Copyright 2014 KCBD. All rights reserved.

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